Melanie’s interest in music began as a young girl while taking piano lessons and playing clarinet in the band. She discovered her love of choral singing in 8th grade and came back from a regional honor choir experience with the desire to become a music teacher.
Melanie has been a music teacher and choir director in the Minnetonka School district since the 2003-2004 school year. She has conducted the Tonka District Girl's Choirs for ten years.
Her education includes a bachelor's degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Master's in Teaching and Learning through Saint Mary's University.
“Singing in choirs has taken me to places all over the country and the world. I continue to value singing in my life because it is a human expression of emotion and touches my heart in so many different ways. When I sing, I feel connected to the other people in the choir and audience. It is hard to replicate the feeling of singing in a choir.”
Choir Director, Deephaven
Joel brings two undergraduate degrees from UW – Stevens Point, which include a Bachelor of Music Theory/Composition Major: Classical Guitar and a Bachelor of Music in K-12 Classroom/Choral Education Major: Voice and Piano.
He also achieved a Master of Education degree from St. Mary’s University.
At a young age, Joel discovered his love of music through singing. He was involved in a multitude of activities, including choir, band, jazz band, vocal jazz, and composing.
Joel directs the choir and teaches classroom music at Excelsior Elementary. Some of his favorite things that he enjoys building into his students are seeing tall vowels, hearing choirs produce better sound and blend, and helping young singers appreciate healthier singing. But what tops the list, for Joel, is seeing students gain confidence with new skills and technique, and watching them develop into who they are as creative music makers and sensitive people.
“Music, teaching, and building community has been a calling to me; I think that can be said about all teachers who love what they’re doing!”
Choir Director, Excelsior
Mona has been teaching music in Minnetonka since 1998.
Her many years have included both directing choirs and teaching classroom music at MME. She has also enjoyed he opportunity to be a part of directing the annual MME musical. The past 4 years, Mona has been at Scenic Heights and Groveland teaching k-5 classroom music.
Mona describes herself as having a lifelong love of music. She took piano lessons as a child, and was in choir and extra curricular singing groups throughout high school. She attended Mankato State University where she earned a B.S. in Music Education with a Vocal/Classroom Music emphasis. Mona was a part of both concert choir and a show choir there, and had the opportunity to travel and perform. She also earned a Masters in Education from St Mary's University.
"I enjoy connecting with students and watching them develop a love of music, as well as gain confidence in themselves and their performance skills.""I enjoy connecting with students and watching them develop a love of music, as well as gain confidence in themselves and their performance skills."
Seth brings a natural theatrical spark and creativity to his students at Groveland. He has been a part of the Minnetonka Choir family for 11 years- his entire professional teaching career.
The music bug showed signs early, as he was singing before he was even talking. His 9 years at YMCA summer camps, as a child care counselor and assistant director, let him know he had a knack for working with kids. His education includes a Bachelors in Choral Music Education from University Wisconsin Eau Claire and, later, a Masters in Differentiated Instruction from Concordia University St Paul.
Not only does he conduct the 5th grade choir, but he also conducts the Tonka District Boys Choir.
He enjoys being on the ground floor of teaching kids’ music making and seeing what they can do.
“There’s just something about children’s voices.”
He spends his time outside of teaching directing the children’s choir and being a part of the choir at St Joan of Arc. Every year he writes and records a song for his wife.
A lifelong music-lover, Sarah began learning the piano from her grandmother in 1st grade and she started singing in choirs at the age of 9. She was given the opportunity to be a student director and conduct her High School Choir, and she knew instantly that was her calling.
She received her Bachelors of Music in Music Education from Augsburg College. Sarah found that children’s choirs specifically were where her heart was once she began student teaching and had the chance to work with elementary children.
She has been with Minnetonka Schools for 11 years, beginning as a ‘pilot’ teacher for the first Fifth Grade Choir at Minnewashta for the 2010-2011 school year. She also began conducting the Cantate Choir (for children in grades 2-5) at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in 2012 and created the Young Voices Choir (for children age 4-Grade 1) in the Winter of 2013.
“I think being a member of or directing a choir is one of the most rewarding things a person can do! I feel so fortunate that I get to do this every day!”
Beck Ashe had the gift of music in her long before she let anyone see it. She spent her childhood always singing around the house but was a bit shy about sharing it. She came out of her shell in high school and got involved with theatre and fell in love with it. She also played the saxophone and took violin lessons on the side. It was her high school choir director that inspired her to feel the call to be a choir director.
She pursued her dreams and earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Bemidji State University and her Masters in Teaching and Learning at St. Mary’s University.
She joined the Minnetonka School district in 2013 working with classroom music and as the 3rd grade District Choir Director. It’s there, discovered how much she enjoys teaching elementary kids to be brave, find their singing voices and put themselves out there.
“I love the moments when the meaning of the text and the music come together and the learning of the notes becomes “musical.” When the kids realize that they could make music in a way that gives them goosebumps is like magic.”
Mary has taught music in Minnetonka Schools for over 20 years. In fact, she has taught at all of the schools in the District except MHS and Excelsior. While the majority of her career has been teaching classroom music and choir, she has also taught band. She currently teaches both classroom music and directs the choir at Scenic Heights.
Her experience includes a Music Education degree from Augsburg College and Master’s degree in Education from Hamline University.
She grew up with her mom as a music teacher and it was a natural fit for her to pursue it as well.
Her main instrument, is the piano, but she also plays the flute and is part of a flute quartet called: The Flute Loops.
“I love music and can’t imagine my life without it! I enjoy teaching music but also like to be a “music maker” myself!
Jennifer teaches elementary music at both Clear Springs and Scenic Heights Elementary. She holds a Bachelor's of Music for Augsburg University and a Masters of Arts in Education at Hamline University.
She has loved singing since she was three years old. Being a music teacher has been something she ash always wanted to do. After years of involvement with choirs and musicals, she pursued her dream of being a music teacher.
She has been teaching in The Minnetonka District since her start with student teaching in 1993. She’s had the opportunity to teach at Clear Springs, Deephaven, Excelsior, Minnewashta and Scenic Heights Elementary schools, but the majority of her teaching career was at MMW. She directed choirs at MMW and developed the before school Morning Madrigals program. She also enjoyed directing the musicals there for 12 years.
She went back to Clear Springs at the birth of her second son, and now gets to teach her own son in her music class.
Jennifer loves teaching kids to sing and be life-long consumers of music. She is passionate about hearing kids sing beautiful text that inspires them, builds them up and gives them a sense of meaning and hope.
“Nothing can touch your soul like music can, and that's what’s keeps me coming back for more each day.”